Waldorf was tied for the lead after bogeying the 17th hole, but his approach on 18 settled in a bunker to the right of the green. And a 12-foot putt for par stopped a foot from the cup, giving him a bogey.
"Nothing was great, but I did something great with everything,'' Waldorf said. "I drove the ball well most of the time, and I made a lot of good putts, and I missed some putts. So all in all, I did everything well.''
That put him in the middle of the drama, but Johnson took center stage.
A year ago, the focus was on Michelle Wie until she succumbed to heat exhaustion on the second day, and she would have been the center of attention again had she not withdrawn due to wrist injuries last month.
With Wie out, it was on Johnson.
A gallery of about 75 trailed him, cheering just about every shot - good or bad. A fan screamed, "Go get 'em Mr. Johnson!'' as he walked to the ninth hole, and another yelled, "Welcome home, Zach!'' as he approached the green.
Johnson then knocked a 17-foot birdie putt wide before tapping it in for par, a fitting conclusion to his round.
"That's the beauty of this area,'' he said. "You know, especially Iowa. I could still be on the Nationwide Tour and getting sponsors exemptions, and I'd still get a warm response. That's the beauty of the pride here.''